FDA: iPods unlikely to interfere with pacemakers | iLounge News


FDA: iPods unlikely to interfere with pacemakers

Contrary to a study presented last May, a new U.S. Food and Drug Administration study shows that iPods, and other portable media players, are unlikely to cause cardiac implantable pacemakers to malfunction. FDA researcher Howard Bassen and colleagues tested a variety of iPods, and found they did not produce enough of an electromagnetic field to interfere with installed pacemakers. The researchers used a saline-filled bag to simulate the human body, a coil sensor to pick up electromagnetic emissions, and tested four different iPod models: both a fourth- and fifth-generation iPod, an iPod nano, and an iPod shuffle. “We measured magnetic field emissions with a 3-coil sensor placed within 1 cm (half an inch) of the surface of the player. Highly localized fields were observed (only existing in a one square cm area),” the researchers wrote in a report published in the journal BioMedical Engineering OnLine. “Based on the observations of our in-vitro study we conclude that no interference effects can occur in pacemakers exposed to the iPods we tested.”

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That’s all well and good, but why did they not test any actual pacemakers in-vitro?  If that one centimeter square magnetic field was moved through a pacemaker, would any effects be observed?  It just seems like kind of an obvious test…

Posted by jarofchris on February 1, 2008 at 9:59 PM (CST)


For jarofchris:

It may be a little problem called “ethics.” Since two previous experiments had indicated possible problems, they had to be careful.

Posted by gslusher on February 2, 2008 at 1:12 AM (CST)


For gslusher:

There is also a little problem called “reading carelessly”.  I specifically said why not test pacemakers “in vitro”, which effectively means in the lab.  This is to be contrasted with “in vivo”, which means in the body.  My point was that rather than setting up an artificial test, why not test an actual pacemaker in the lab (NOT connected to an actual body, but connected to equipment that measured its output).  Honestly, “ethics?”

Posted by jarofchris on February 4, 2008 at 9:03 PM (CST)

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